Category Archives: Wildlife

Morro Bay Aquarium in CA Closes

City officials of Morro Bay, CA, have voted not to renew the lease of the 50-year-old Morro Bay Aquarium.  In the ocean, harbor seals can dive more than 650 feet and stay underwater for 10 minutes at a time. Sea lions are social animals by nature, and form colonies, where they live and play together and can swim at a rate of 7 mph. For decades, the sea lions, seals, and fish at the Morro Bay Aquarium have been imprisoned in barren concrete cells only a few feet wide and a few feet deep. During the last three years alone, the facility received sixteen citations for not meeting even the minimum federal standards of care (goodness knows hardly stringent) — including failing to feed a significantly underweight sea lion properly and putting a harbor seal in a 20-inch deep pool.Courtesy: PETA

According to PETA, who was instrumental in the closure, “The Morro Bay Aquarium’s barren, shallow display tanks deprive seals and sea lions of everything that they need to survive and thrive, including room to swim, depth to dive, and the companionship of their families.” According to the aquarium owner, Bertha Tyler, “They want to do something that is not the truth. They are selling stories that are not sold because I know our animals have lived here a long time. We have one that’s Maggie. She is 28 years old and we also have had them live to 32 years old but they don’t say that.”

Just saying…that’s what she said.

 

A Quick Jaunt to the 1800s…

…when bear-baiting was still legal in the United States. Oh wait –

IT IS STILL LEGAL IN SOUTH CAROLINA. Official public bear-baiting events are held annually in Spartanburg, Hickory Grove and Travelers Rest, S.C., by breed clubs associated with the United Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club. (THERE’s a great association!). Backyard events are held throughout the rural areas of northwest South Carolina year-round.

Called bear “baying because officially the dogs are merely to bark at the bear and keep it in one place, in FACT the bears have their teeth and claws removed or filed down, are closely chained to a post, and and are subjected to repeated attacks by teams of trained dogs, often for hours, until exhaustion. And that is their life.

The practice is almost entirely unregulated, although South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources issues permits to keep black bears captive (and does not enforce sterilization), knowing what they are subjected to and not giving two shits. Black bears are intelligent, shy animals who avoid humans whenever possible. They usually roam miles a day in search of food, and their home range can be as large as 200 miles. South Carolina law only requires a bear’s enclosure be 9′ x 9′. And black bears can live for 40 years.

This is not a sport, spectator or otherwise. It is CLEARLY animal cruelty. Take 5 minutes to email the following people to ask that it be banned from ALL 50 STATES (as most people would assume it was, long ago) and that all those who continue to participate be prosecuted with felony animal cruelty.

Daniel Ashe
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
E-Mail: contact@fws.gov

Sally Jewel
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240 Phone: (202) 208-3100
E-Mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov

Governor Nikki Haley
Office of the Governor
1205 Pendleton Street
Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 734-2100                                                                               Email: http://www.governor.sc.gov/Pages/SendMessage.aspx

 

Atrazine: Let's get it banned

Every pesticide in America undergoes a re-evaluation every 15 years and fortunately 2013 is the year that Atrazine gets reviewed.

Atrazine is one of the world’s most common pesticides. It’s been in use for 50 years (over 80 million pounds of it were used on American crops last year alone) and has been called the DDT of the 21st Century. This harmful pesticide is an endocrine disruptor that can turn male frogs into females at concentrations as low as 2.5 parts per billion.Atrazine frog image

Atrazine causes cancer in laboratory mammals and developmental problems in fish. Atrazine is one of the most commonly detected pesticides in rainwater, groundwater and tapwater in the USA. It’s used on corn, sugar, sorghum, yams, rice, and even lawns.

Frogs and humans share half our DNA, so Atrazine can’t be good for humans either. That’s probably why the European Union banned the it in 2004. But the company that produces it, Syngenta, is fighting to keep Atrazine on the market in the USA.

Fortunately, Save the Frogs! is working to get Atrazine federally banned and out of production as soon as possible. They need your help.

Save the Frogs! has an online petition that you can sign to help get Atrazine banned in the USA.

If there is even a chance of stopping this, your 10 minutes are worth it.

'Write a letter to the President'</p><br />
<p>Please, every single wolf advocate must write, call and email the Whitehouse and their state lawmakers protesting the proposed removal of Wolves across the United States from the Endangered Species List. If this proposal is approved, Wolves would lose protection even where they have not set foot for a hundred years!<br /><br />
Please consider printing out this image or another showing the horrendous way wolves are treated in the states where they have already lost their protection ...<br /><br />
Also, it is important not only to demand a stop to the proposed de-listing but to demand a  re-listing of Wolves to federal protection in the five states where they are being run ragged and killed for sport , which is taking their population down to unsustainable numbers. </p><br />
<p>Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your message gets to the White House as quickly as possible.</p><br />
<p>If you write a letter, please consider typing it on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper. If you hand-write your letter, please consider using pen and writing as neatly as possible.</p><br />
<p>Please include your return address on your letter as well as your envelope. If you have an email address, please consider including that as well.</p><br />
<p>And finally, be sure to include the full address of the White House to make sure your message gets to us as quickly and directly as possible:</p><br />
<p>The White House<br /><br />
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW<br /><br />
Washington, DC 20500

Please write, call and email the White House and your state lawmakers to protest the possible removal of wolves across the United States from the Endangered Species List. If this proposal is approved, wolves would lose protection and would be open to hunting and trapping. Please also demand a re-listing of wolves in the five states where they are now being killed for “sport” , which is taking their population down to unsustainable numbers.

Ideally, your letter should be written on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. It can be typed or neatly handwritten in pen. Include your street and email address on the letter (I am really not quite sure that everyone still knows how to write real letters!). The full presidential address is:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Help stop the cruel shark fin trade

Sharks are a vital part of the oceans’ ecosystems. But 20% of the nearly 550 species of sharks risk extinction, in part because of the cruel appetite for shark fin soup.

Each year, millions of sharks are killed for their fins, considered a delicacy to some, and are often de-finned while still alive and thrown back into the ocean to drown.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has asked for the public to comment on a proposed rule.

shark

The purpose of the proposed rule is to implement the Shark Conservation Act, which is meant to close loopholes in the U.S. ban on shark finning.

The problem is that the federal government may then block states from taking extra steps to prevent the influx of non-regulated shark fins into their states. That could threaten the ability of states to close their market to shark fins–and mean a big step backwards for shark conservation.

TAKE ACTION

The Humane Society of the United States has a petition you can sign. Please tell the Department of Commerce that while you approve the implementation of the Shark Conservation Act, states should have the ability to adopt even stronger measures to minimize their role in providing a market for shark fins.

Victories from South America

On June 12, the Colombian Senate approved a nationwide ban on the use of animals in circuses. With this ban, Colombia joins other South American countries that prohibit the use of animals in circuses, such as Bolivia and Peru, and now Veracruz, which has gone considerably further and also prohibited bullfighting, dogfighting, and cockfighting. The Colombian prohibition covers wild, native, and exotic animals, as well as birds.

 

Chimps to make federal endangered species list?

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing that chimpanzees in the US be added to the federal endangered species list. The Washington Post published an article that explains the current situation and how changing the listing for captive chimps will help their plight.

creative commons Thomas Lersch

Right now, wild chimps are listed as endangered while their captive cousins are listed as only threatened. This differentiation lets people breed, sell, ship, and experiment on captive chimps in the US. Adding captive chimps to the endangered species list would change that and would help chimps in zoos, circuses, and in the entertainment industry.

Changing their status will prevent chimps from being used in invasive medical testing procedures and from being taken across state lines. It would also ban international commerce of chimps.

The Humane Society, Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW, and the Jane Goodall Institute all back the proposal.

Read the press release from Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW.

Take Action!

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking public feedback about the issue. Please visit this Humane Society page, add your comments, and sign the petition asking US Fish and Wildlife Service to help all chimpanzees by applying Endangered Species Act protections to captive chimpanzees.

First Asian Country Enacts Nationwide Shark Fin Ban

So…the first nationwide shark fin ban in Asia has just been adopted in the country of Brunei, on the island of Borneo. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah made the decree that officially bans the catch and landing of all shark species from the waters of Brunei and their domestic sale, as well as banning the importation and trade of shark products. Admittedly Brunei has the population of Portland, OR, but it IS the 5th-richest country in the world.

 

Blackfish: A review of the new documentary

Blackfish reveals the complicated life of Tilikum, an orca born in the wild off the coast of Iceland. As a young whale, Tilikum was forcibly separated from his mother and sent to perform at a marine park in Victoria BC. He’s been in captivity since 1983 and is currently confined at SeaWorld in Florida.

The documentary reveals the frustrations Tilikum has endured and how he’s been picked on by other whales in his pool, cooped up in a dark “garage” of sorts during off seasons, and forced to perform year in and year out.

Orcas similar to Tilikum

Out of his frustrations, grew an aggression that wild orcas don’t display toward humans. Tilikum has killed three people, two of which were trainers.

The movie shows the horrors of wild capture and captive breeding. It documents the unnatural acts orcas are forces to perform in front of clueless audiences. The charade SeaWorld conducts is shameful. They lead people into believing these beautiful whales somehow enjoy their time in captivity and are safe and happy.

On the contrary, an orca’s life in captivity is extremely short. They live on average for 9 years from the time they are captives–regardless of how old they were when they entered captivity. In the wild, male orcas can live about 60 years; females up to 100.

Orcas, also called killer whales, live in family units called pods. Each pod speaks a different “language.” They live with or near their pod for their whole lives and travel about 100 miles a day. They are extremely social and have highly developed emotions. To see families separated and grief-stricken and captive whales isolated in concrete pools was heartbreaking. But the film is an important movie to watch.

Blackfish will be released in NY and LA later this summer, and more widely after that. CNN Documentaries is distributing the film on TV in the fall.

It’s a terrific resource and the things you’ll learn apply to all captive marine animals. Sadly, SeaWorld is one of the better marine parks. There are many more orcas who languish is worse conditions, including many at Canada’s Marineland.

What to do

First of all, never go to a marine park like SeaWorld or Marineland. Ask your friends not to go and talk to schools about canceling field trips to marine parks. Marine parks exist for one reason, and one reason alone: making money. Vote with your dollars and spend your time and money somewhere else.

Look at the websites below for information about how to help. Two orcas, Morgan and Lolita, are great candidates for release.

Resources

Blackfish website – Information about the movie, including the trailer and upcoming screenings.

Orca Network – Information about whales in the Pacific Northwest, creating safe whale habitats, and the Free Lolita campaign.

Voice of the Orcas – Interview and current event about conservation and activism.

Miami Sea Prison - Information about captive orcas and the fight to release Lolita, the last surviving whale from the L Pod hunt in 1970.

Free Morgan Foundation – The campaign to release Morgan, an orca currently in captivity in The Netherlands.

Marineland Animal Defense - A campaign to end animal captivity at Marineland in Niagara Falls Canada.

Decision on Removing Wolf Protection Indefinitely Delayed

The US Fish and Wildlife Service, bowing to special interest groups, had proposed lifting protections for gray wolves — presently an endangered species — across the lower 48 states, although the very small population of 75 Mexican grey wolves in the Southwest would continue to receive protection.. (The National Cattlemen’s Association wants that removed too.).This would have affected the approximately 6,000 wolves thought to roam the continental US, primarily in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes regions. The federal proposal said that this number was sufficient to ensure survival of the species, which was almost wiped out early last century due to a government-sponsored  poisoning and trapping campaign.  If this proposal passed, it would transfer control of wolves to state wildlife agencies, where special interest groups such as hunters and ranchers (who are very bad about sharing livestock and elk they want to kill THEMSELVES for fun and profit) would be free to create open season on wolf hunting and trapping.

In Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, regulated hunting and trapping of wolves has already been introduced, leading to a fast, sharp decline in wolf numbers.
In Oregon and Washington, which have small but rapidly growing wolf populations, the animals remained protected under state laws even after federal protections were lifted in portions of the two states.
However, in a court filing last week, government attorneys say “a recent unexpected delay” is indefinitely holding up action on the predators. No further explanation was offered.
Let’s be grateful for small mercies.